- The Cost of Staying at Home
- Beyond Coupon Clipping: 10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Dollar
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26
By: Jennifer Mullen
Being a stay-at-home mom is not for everyone. Actually, a recent study found that working moms are happier than stay-at-home moms and part-time workers are the most happy. For me, staying-at-home was a calling. An act of obedience. God had somethings to work out in me. God has used this time in my life to teach me so much about His provision and His purpose for my life. I believe, for me personally, if I had tried to work while having preschoolers, I would have lost sight of where my “daily bread” was coming from and our family goals. On paper, it would have never worked, but God loves to work with the impossibilities! God has blessed our steps of obedience in trusting Him to provide for our family financially.
There are many examples in the bible of how God provided for His people that I can in turn testify to the same working of the LORD in my life. Here are three:
The Widow’s Olive Oil (Kings 4:1-7):
The story: This story is about a widow who after the death of her husband found herself in debt, therefore her sons were to be sold into slavery. The woman went to the prophet Elisha to seek help. Elisha told her to gather as many jars as she could and to take the only small jar of oil that she had and fill all of the jars! She was able to sell the oil to pay down her debt.
The application: My husband and I had a goal to save as much money as we could before we had our children so that we could live off of one income until I had to go back to work. Before I turned in my letter of resignation, we figured that we had about one and half to two years of savings. My heart ached because I knew that I wanted to be home, but it didn’t look like it was going to work. In January of 2010, we had a two-year old and wanted more children but our money was running out. We were nearing the two-year mark and it appeared that our money was going to run out in October of that year. Shortly after that, we found out that we were expecting baby number two in October of that year! We decided to cut back on some more of our discretionary spending and trust that the LORD would provide. Each time we re-evaluate our situation and put a timeframe on our current provision, the LORD has extended that provision through raises, gifts, side jobs, unexpected tax refunds, etc. Just as the LORD kept pouring oil out of a small container for the Hebrew widow, he has been providing for our needs from our small bank account.
The Manna (Exodus 16):
The Story: I have addressed the idea of manna and God’s provision in the past. In that post, I talked about the importance of “gathering”. On Wednesday, I will have some practical ideas on how to “gather”. Another important concept to realize is that if the Israelites gathered more manna than they needed, it would spoil.
The Application: One thing I have learned, like the manna of the Old Testament, when we (my family) have taken more than we need, the provision has spoiled. Nice cars get dings. Fancy cellphones get lost. All the excess foods turns into fat! Extra hours of work turn into a bigger strain on our family unit than it is worth. We strive to live within our means. That is not to say that we do not splurge from time to time, but we have learned to be good stewards of what we have been given.
The Clothes of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 8:4):
The Story: In Deuteronomy chapter 8, Moses reminds the Israelites of God’s faithfulness. I want to highlight verse four which says: “Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.” While the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, they were unable to provide for themselves. God not only provided quail and manna for them, He supernaturally made their clothes and shoes last.
The Application: A woman could go broke trying to dress a girl now-days. With all the frilly bows and tutus, it is hard not to get caught up in a fashion frenzy! While I do enjoy the fun of it all, it is nearly impossible on our budget to have a wardrobe of the latest collections for my children. However, my children have NEVER wanted for clothes. I can not tell you how blessed we have been by hand-me-downs! Out of the blue, I have had practical strangers that I have met in MOPS offer to give me all of the clothes their children have outgrown. I have also learned the joy of paying-it-forward. It warms my heart to see the children of my friends running around in some of my favorite outfits! With the majority of my kids wardrobes coming from hand-me-downs, consignment shops, and gifts, I am able to buy some special pieces to make it their own.
The LORD has taught me by giving up my career at this time, that He is the one who holds our fortunes and our futures. He has proven Himself faithful time and time again. Everything that we receive be it income, gifts, unexpected breaks in bills…we receive it from the LORD. We acknowledge that everything we have is from the LORD and that “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away’.” (Job 1:21) When the time is right, I may return to my career and when I do I will take these lessons with me. So if you ask me, the cost of staying-at-home produces eternal benefits. I have not given up security; I have gained it!
***If you are trying to make the decision to stay-at-home or not, seek the LORD. If you get confirmation from Him that is what He wants from you, trust that He will be faithful! Check back Wednesday, for some ways to make your dollar stretch while on a budget.